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A person is seen on board as a U.S. flagged cargo vessel carrying aid to a pier built by the U.S. off Gaza sets sail from Larnaca, Cyprus May 9, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

A person is seen on board as a U.S. flagged cargo vessel carrying aid to a pier built by the U.S. off Gaza sets sail from Larnaca, Cyprus May 9, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

U.S.-Flagged Ship Departs Cyprus Bound for Gaza Pier

Reuters
Total Views: 2308
May 9, 2024
Reuters

NICOSIA, May 9 (Reuters) – A vessel carrying aid to a pier built by the United States off Gaza set sail from Cyprus on Thursday, Cypriot officials said.

The U.S. flagged Sagamore left the port of Larnaca in the morning. U.S. officials have said the vessel will be used to offload supplies onto a floating pier built to expedite aid into the besieged enclave.

Cyprus opened a sea corridor in March to ship aid directly to Gaza, where deliveries via land have been severely disrupted by border closures and Israel’s military offensive

A senior Biden administration official last month said aid going ashore would still be subject to inspection by Israeli authorities, raising the prospect of additional delays in getting desperately-needed supplies to Palestinians. 

That is seemingly at odds with Cyprus’ stated objective which was to screen cargoes on the island with Israeli oversight to elliminate bottlenecks at the other end.

Two Cypriot officials said they were not aware of further checks. “No other inspection is foreseen beyond what the mechanism that is carried out in Cyprus prescribes,” one of them told Reuters. 

Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, in response to the militant group’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7, has devastated the tiny Gaza Strip, where aid agencies warn its 2.3 million people are facing imminent famine.

U.S.-based charity World Food Kitchen used the route twice before seven of its workers were killed in an Israeli air strike on April 1.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas and Yiannis Kourtoglou; Editing by Toby Chopra and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2024.

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